Helping Puerto Ricans relocating to Rochester
by: Alex Crichton
The Rochester community is responding to the needs of thousands of people from Puerto Rico who are expected to relocate here.
Rochester already has one of the largest Puerto Rican population’s in the country, and it’s expected to grow as more people evacuate the island, devastated by hurricanes.
Local officials say they are here to help.
Monroe County Cheryl Dinolfo says the county’s website outlines services such as SNAP benefits, emergency housing and employment assistance in both English and Spanish.
“We’re expediting all our services for our friends and family members in need from Puerto Rico. We’ve already seen about a hundred students have come through the Rochester City school District, that’s families as well,” she said.
It was Ibero American Action League that brought together over a dozen agencies and organizations to provide the resources these families need.
Ibero President and CEO Hilda Rosario Escher, says they’ve set up a multi-agency resource center at 938 Clifford Avenue.
“It’s like one-stop shopping. They don’t have to go all over the city,” she said.
Escher, like many Puerto Ricans in Rochester, has family back home.
“My sister went hungry for four days. They don’t have electricity, no running water, so they are trying to make the best of it,” she said.
Around a dozen organizations are collaborating on the response effort, including the Housing Authority, American Red Cross, Rochester Regional Health and the Rochester City School District.
Housing Authority Executive Director John Hill says they’re reaching out to landlords, asking them if they are willing to help evacuees by giving them a unit for free for a month or two.
The Housing Authority is also working with FEMA to help evacuees find a home.
Here’s Ibero’s Hilda Rosario Escher on meeting the needs of Puerto Ricans coming here: